When I came to college, I was pretty much as naïve as any girl can be. I only had one boyfriend prior to stepping onto campus, and as I look back at the relationship, it was so much less than I thought it was at the time. So imagine my surprise when I got to Syracuse and realized that there was this idea of “hooking up”. But what was even more foreign to me was the idea of exclusivity. It wasn’t foreign in a sense that it existed, because in my mind all relations were exclusive. It was the fact that exclusivity wasn’t implied when you start hooking up with someone.
I still didn’t understand this fact or chose to ignore it for my entire freshman year. I lived in my own little world in BBB, believing that I was somehow immune to this pandemic. I can clearly see now that the boy I was hooking up with was probably hooking up with other girls. And honestly that’s fine. But if you had asked me that then, I would have been startled by the thought that this situation could exist.
Fast forward to sophomore year. This was the year where the meaning of being exclusive slapped me in the face…multiple times. In October I met a guy that I hard-core fell for. We were pretty much the two most opposite people; he was outdoorsy and a man slut, I was innocent and girly. I never knew I could find someone who I cared so much about in such a short time. I thought things were going so well and I could see myself with him for the long hall (gasp).
I never thought about having the exclusive talk because I thought I was the only one he wanted to be with. I never questioned his loyalty to me because I knew I was loyal to him. That all changed on Halloween when my best friend called me to tell me she saw him take another girl upstairs at a party. I was shocked, rattled, and distraught. Was I not good enough? Did I do something wrong? Looking back, neither of these questions was true. I didn’t do anything wrong. What I didn’t do though was ask that question that haunts me in any relationship: What are we?
That same question has followed me throughout college, and every time I clam up when I know it needs to be asked. This same boy who hurt me so much came in and out of my life the rest of that year. I always wound up hurt because I never asked or solidified that question. Once I finally smartened up, it was too late. I’ve moved on since then, and have matured, but that fear of asking for what I want still lingers.
Maybe it’s my fear of rejection, or maybe it’s that I just don’t want to know so I can continue to believe the fairy tale in my mind. But as a single girl, I need to protect myself and honestly get over asking. Even in my junior year I often revert to my old ways, believing that somehow things will all work out according to my plan. But that’s not true and this is real life. I’m better at asking those questions now, and it’s helped the “thing” that I’m in now. I now know exclusivity is not a given, and that to boys it’s almost as much of a commitment as a relationship. But it never hurts to ask. And each time I do it, gets a little easier.
Guest Blogger, Collegiate Gal